7 Mexican Card Games: From Tradition To Entertainment

Mexico, with its rich culture and traditions, has always been a hub for entertainment and games. If you ever find yourself in a local café or coffee shop in Mexico, don’t be surprised to see a deck of cards placed in the middle of tables. These aren’t just for decoration; they’re an invitation to indulge in some of the country’s most beloved card games, much like the popular Samba Card Game played in other parts of the world.

History of Mexican Card Games

While the art of card playing traces its roots back to ancient China, Mexico has its own storied history with the pastime. By the 1800s, games that resembled what we know today as Rummy began to emerge in the Mexican landscape. A significant number of these games are played using the traditional Spanish deck, which consists of forty cards divided into four suits: clubs, coins, swords, and cups.

Some games, however, call for the more familiar 52-card deck. Interestingly, just as the Uno Drinking Game has become a favorite in many gatherings worldwide, Mexico has its own set of card games that are deeply rooted in its culture.

Top 7 Mexican Card Games

List of 7 Must-Play Mexican Card Games

1. Manilla

A game that finds its origins in Spain but was heavily influenced by the 19th-century French game called Manille. Played with four players split into two teams, the game revolves around scoring points based on the value of cards. The nine, for instance, is worth 5 points, while the Ace fetches 4 points.

2. Loteria 

Mexican Card Games

Think of bingo but with a Mexican twist. The term “Loteria” translates to “Lottery” in English. Players use unique cards adorned with images of Mexican folk art and characters from the early 19th century. The excitement builds as players eagerly await the caller, known as the “singer”, to announce the images, hoping to mark off the corresponding image on their card.

3. Conquian

Mexican Card Games

If you’re familiar with Rummy, Conquian will seem like a close relative. Using a deck of forty cards, players are dealt ten cards each, aiming to meld eleven cards through various combinations. The first to use up all their cards emerges as the winner.

4. La Viuda

Mexican Card Games

Drawing parallels with the American game Whiskey Poker, La Viuda is best enjoyed with four to seven players. Incorporating a standard deck of cards, including jokers, and a set of chips, the game sees players vying to avoid having the worst hand at the end of each round.

5. Burro Castigado

Mexican Card Games

Perfect for family game nights, this game is especially suited for younger players. Using a Spanish set of cards, the objective is simple: match cards of the same value. Fail to find a match, and you’re one step closer to spelling out “Burro”, which signals the end of the game for you.

6. Ocho Loco

A cousin of the popular game Crazy Eights, Ocho Loco challenges players to get as close to the score of seven as possible without exceeding it. The game uses either a Spanish deck of forty cards or a modified standard deck.

7. Mexican Poker

Mexican Card Games

A twist on the classic poker game, the Mexican version is played with forty cards. Players are dealt five cards, with one kept face-down. The game introduces an element of suspense with each betting phase, especially with the inclusion of jokers as wildcards.

Truco Game: (Optional Game)

While the list provided covered seven games, there are countless other card games popular in Mexico. One such game could be “Truco”, a trick-taking game with roots in Spain but widely played in various forms across Latin America. And for those looking for a more modern twist, the Friends Drinking Game offers a fun alternative that can be enjoyed with a group of close pals.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What are some popular Mexican card games?
Ans: Some of the most popular Mexican card games include Manilla, Loteria, Conquian, La Viuda, Burro Castigado, Ocho Loco, and Mexican Poker. These games have deep cultural roots in Mexico and are often played during gatherings, festivals, and family events.

Q2. Do Mexican card games require a special deck of cards?
Ans: Many Mexican card games are played using a traditional Spanish deck of cards, which consists of forty cards divided into four suits: clubs, coins, swords, and cups. However, some games, like Mexican Poker, can be played with a standard 52-card deck. Additionally, games like Loteria have their own unique set of cards adorned with images of Mexican folk art.

Q3. Can I play Mexican card games if I only have a standard 52-card deck?
Ans: Yes, you can adapt many Mexican card games to be played with a standard 52-card deck. For instance, for games that require a 40-card Spanish deck, you can simply remove the 8s, 9s, and 10s from a standard deck. However, it’s essential to understand the rules and modifications required for each game to ensure accurate gameplay.


Mexican card games offer a unique blend of strategy, luck, and cultural richness. While many of these games utilize the Spanish set of playing cards, you can easily adapt and play them with a standard deck by simply removing the 8s, 9s, and 10s. Whether you’re playing with family or friends, these games promise hours of fun and entertainment. And remember, the beauty of card games lies in their flexibility – feel free to tweak the rules to suit your group’s preferences!